The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Carmelita Jeter, Jennifer Suhr and Christine Ohuruogu headlined an impressive list of 16 London Olympic gold medallists and 42 overall medallists at the Aviva Grand Prix. Helen Keeling attended for Women's Sport Report.
No doubt still buoyed by the success of Team GB at the recent London Olympics, the UK's final Samsung Diamond event of the year was a sell-out, drawing in a crowd of 12.800. One of the highlights on the track was the women's 100 metres where, in a role reversal to the Olympics, the USA's Carmelita Jeter claimed first place with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in second. Jeter set a new meeting record of 10.81 seconds. Fraser-Pryce ran 10.90 seconds and stated: 'it was okay; another close race. It happens - I'm now thinking about the next meet.'
Away from the track, the women's pole vault went to form; Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Suhr taking first place with a jump of 4.65 metres. The Ukranian Olympic bronze medallist Olha Saladukha was victorious in the triple jump, whilst in the javelin the Czech Republic's Barbora Spotakova took first place with a meeting record of 66.08 metres. New Zealand's (eventual) Olympic gold medallist Valerie Adams maintained her impressive form to clinch victory in the shot put.
Britain's Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu once again claimed second place in the 400 metres, losing out to Jamaican Rosemarie Whyte who ran a Season's Best of 50.20 seconds. 'It was great out there today' said Christine. 'It's always great to come back home and run in Britain. The crowd was amazing.'
Other British second places went to Laura Weightman in the 1500 metres (a still-injured Hannah England placing fourth) and Perri Shakes-Drayton in the 400 metre hurdles. Shakes-Drayton, who failed to make the Olympic final due to hamstring problems, said:
'the big thing I have learnt this year is that in sport anything can happen. I have put my disappointment in the Olympics behind me because there's nothing I can do about it, I just need to use it to spur me on and come back stronger.'
The other women's events of the day included the 800 metres, which was won by Olympic gold medallist Mariya Savinova. The Russian expressed surprise at winning due to feeling very tired at the end of a long season. Brit Marilyn Okoro placed third. The women's 3,000 metres was won by Mercy Cherono who stated that it was a nice way to end the season, as she had failed to make the Kenyan Olympic team.